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Remarkable Reads by Nichrysalis

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Submitted on
March 16, 2013
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Compared to other styles of poetry under the category of Haiku and Eastern, there is comparatively little published about the more aggressive senryu.

Senryu, whose name means river willow, uses humor and satire to examine human society. Senryu takes on the form of haiku, but makes greater use of punctuation techniques (ellipses, exclamations, etc.) to convey its point. Senryu can use seasonal kigo, but do not rely on them. In senryu, the seasonal reference should be second in importance to the human portrayal. Contrary to popular belief, not all senryu is humorous. Many express misfortune, eroticism, political views (very important), religion & spirituality, and even anger (observational, not overflowing emotion like tanka). It is often bawdy, devoid of the subtle beauty known in haiku. Animals can also be represented through interaction using human personifications.

Originating during Japan's Edo period, senryu reflected both the societal and political turmoil of the time period. Popularized by a haijin named Senryu Karai, senryu was first recognized in the haiku contests going on in the cities. Haiku was written by the Japanese aristocratic class, court officials, and revered monks. Senryu was embraced and written by the common people. It was later given its own genre and studied alongside haiku and tanka.

While following the form of haiku, senryu is different in that it is not a form in itself. Senryu is a concept, a way of looking at things that are applied to haiku form, and a poetic genre that concerns human nature in its complex layers and emotions. More than being a style like haiku, known for its expression of nature within seasonal themes, senryu is a conceptual spinoff from haiku.

Since 2007, I have studied and written modern haiku, tanka, and senryu. To understand all three gives a wider range for expression. In the case of senryu, you become aware of your reactionary observations with the interaction of humanity from a social and cultural influence.

A small sampling of my own senryu offerings:

wasp nest
in my mailbox—
unpaid bills

soccer ball out of bounds—
kids running
for the ice cream truck

tackle box—
the ciggies Dad left
ten years ago

so much mental baggage
left behind—
a stick of gum in my pocket

beyond the reef
scattered ashes—
his son's trip to Peru
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L-Inque Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I love writing Senryu :)
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014
:hug: Isn't it wonderfully unique!
L-Inque Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Yes indeed.  A form very close to my heart, so to speak.  :)
LadyMurasaki1 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you - very informative! :D
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014
It was my absolute pleasure, Saki! :bow:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
:giggle: Yesss!  And that really happened, too!
TristanCody Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Student Writer
You know, I came to your profile trying to learn more about Eastern styles of poetry (mainly the Haiku and Tanka) but now I really want to know about these as well. I knew a bit, but this really gives me some motivation to write some. Thank you for that. 
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
You are most welcome, Tristan. It thrills me that my article is helping to inspire you. To know haiku, tanka, and senryu, is to become a more rounded haijin (one who writes Japanese short form poetry), in how you observe & express.

I hope you will continue to explore my galleries for short form: I have folders especially for what you seek, which should make references more easily accessible.
:iconbowplz: May it all help you with your journey.
TristanCody Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Student Writer
Haijin? What a beautiful name for a writer to have. 

I shall. And thank you for all of the reference material. I truly do appreciate it. :hug:
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